A&P John Updike Essay

A&P written by John Updike in 1961 in which the hero and the first person narrator, Sammy, a nineteen year old teenager who made a serious decision, took a stand for the girl’s right, to be able to wear what suits them. The conflict occurred when the manager of A&P, Lengel, came out of the door marked “Manager” hauling out a box of cabbage and met eyes with the girls. He tells the girls that the A&P isn’t and beach and there is policy they have to follow in order for them to be able to shop at the supermarket.

Queenie, the leader of the girl group, argued they were dressed appropriately and that she only came to A&P to buy the fancy Herring Snacks. In retaliation, Sammy quits his job as a cashier and walks out of the store, hoping to be the girls’ hero. However, the girls had gone and Sammy realized that his life would be a hard one if he always stood up for underdogs. Sammy understands himself as a hero, quitting his job “fighting” for the girls’ rights. However, Sammy’s decision was not affected by Lengel’s attitude towards the girls’ clothing.

For a considerable amount of time, Sammy was deciding whether to quit or not but because of the length of time he has been working at the A&P and his daily encounters with the customers. During the years he has been working for the A&P, he resisted quitting his job because of his parents. Considering the decision to quit his job at the A&P, Lengel, the man who follows and enforces the policy, has known Sammy’s parent for a long time, and tells Sammy that he should reconsider what he is doing and how it would affect his family. Like every other teenager, Sammy experiences what many other teenage boys experience.

He is a naive teenager looking for ways to quit a job that doesn’t appeal to his needs. For at least a few months, Sammy thought of quitting his job, however, because of his parents, considering they are a middle-class family, he resisted from quitting. But when his chance came, he used that opportunity to quit his job. Thinking he would be a hero or a knight in shining armor, he quit his job to win over the girls’ hearts. At the end, he realized nothing good would ever come to him if he stood up for the underdogs, especially in a small town in Boston, where people couldn’t even see the beach.

Sammy has many characters of young teenagers. For example, Sammy rates the young girls wearing bikinis. Like many other teenagers, especially me, rate girls, guys, or both. For example, when a girl comes through the Starbucks door, I rate the girl. I criticize how she looks and what kind of style she wears. I, especially, describe her facial features and body features. Girls criticize other girls because of self-esteem issues or for satisfaction. Sammy, for instance, is not criticizing the girls because he has self-esteem issues or for satisfaction, but he is rating the girls because he is attracted to the girls.

Any guy would be attracted to a girl if she appeared in a supermarket wearing a bikini! If I lived in a small town in Boston, where there weren’t an array of jobs, I would have worked quite a while in A&P like Sammy. Considering how much my parents make, economy wise, I would have thought day in and day out how I was to drag myself and keep working at A&P, looking at the same customers who come in like it’s their own home. It obviously was a struggle for Sammy to quit because the manager, Lengel, knew Sammy’s parents quite well and their economic status.

In his position I would have done it differently rather than just wait for the right moment to quit. Rather than being the checkout clerk, I would have asked the manager for a different job. For example, work on aisles, checking the stock of produce, dairy, miscellaneous, etc. There would have been plenty of ways to make the job less excruciating for him to do if the job was that important to him. In my opinion, if I were to step into Sammy’s shoes and become a guy for a day, I would have quit my job for those bikini girls.

Every guy’s dream is to be a hero for a hot girl, especially the ones in bikinis. Although it sounds cliche, some girls would have appreciated this kind of gesture from a guy. Girls would have been thanking the guys for such a heroic move and felt bad that the guy lost a job. However, these days there aren’t any “policies” exclaiming that girls aren’t allowed to wear bikinis in supermarkets. Although it might be exposing too much skin, all people can do is criticize the girls for wearing such clothing in public area (complaining that the supermarket isn’t a beach).

In addition, if I knew that I wouldn’t have received my “reward” from the girls after I quit my job, I wouldn’t have even spoke of the word quit in front of the manager. Bad luck for Sammy, he thought he would have received some sugar but to his surprise when he quit his job and went out the door there were no sign of the girls. They had jumped in the car before the manager, Lengel, could have said anything else to them about their apparel. Knowing he has made a mistake, Sammy noted to himself that nothing good would ever come to him if he tried to be the knight in shining armor for girls he couldn’t even get their phone numbers.

Throughout the story, Sammy focuses on the bikini girls and never realizes he is hurting his future. Rather than working towards the cash, he was consistent with rating the girls and wondering if he can be their hero. Through the character Sammy, I learned an important lesson. The lesson is to not to stand up for underdogs when something important that helps you live day by day is on the line. To his loss, Sammy learns this valuable lesson and force to wonder how he would ever get another job.